It was a hot day in the desert when our small group gathered to celebrate the turn of the season from “spring” to “summer.” The day after the astronomical solstice, we came together to celebrate the first day of summer and to honor St. John the Baptist, whose Feast Day is on June 24th. For the first time, we went into the city of Phoenix to meet at a park that was about half way between the park we usually gather at and Betsy, whose birthday we would be celebrating.
Some call the Summer Solstice “Litha,” which is the Celtic name for it. After June 21st, the sun begins to turn away, taking with it a promise for a great harvest when Autumn arrives. Just as John the Baptist promised the arrival of the Savior, so Summer Solstice promises the arrival of sustenance. Summer is a gestational time, when we become quieter and more contemplative as we stay in our air conditioned places considering the purpose of our lives.
Los Olivos Park had once been the preferred festival grounds for events by PAN (Pagan Arizona Network). A grove of olive trees stands on the park grounds. The grove makes it the perfect place for many groups to gather. Now, however, there is also a Frisbee court set out across the park, with poles and chains to catch the flying saucer situated nearby. We shared the park with Frisbee throwers, who walked by us chatting, glancing at the altar. At one end of the park, people played catch with their dogs while at the other end children played on the playground. There we were, at the center, calling upon the Ancestors and the Angels for protection and partnership.
After the worship and prayers, there was feasting and laughter. Some of those who we have seen at St. Brigid events were not there. They were missed, though we had a couple of “new” faces. If you would like to read the liturgy for this service, you will find it posted on Pastor Suzy’s sermon website. More pictures can be seen on the St. Brigid in the Desert Facebook page.
St. Brigid in the Desert is a small house parish of the Universal Anglican Church. We regularly gather at the turn of the seasons, eight times per year, as well as for special occasions. Everyone is welcome to St. Brigid events. Please visit our website for more information.